On the Feast of Christ the King, in November 2009, Pope Benedict's message for the 2010 World Day for the Sick was released. The international celebration of the Day is this year taking place at the Vatican Basilica. No particular theme appears to be identified for this year's Day. The Day does coincide with the 25th anniversary of the establishing by Pope John Paul II of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral of Health Care.
Unfortunately, the Pontifical Council does not have a terribly well organised presence on the World Wide Web. It is not, therefore, a surprise that its work is not well known - even among priests who are hospital chaplains! Summarising the activity of the Council:
1. Organising an annual conference, usually held in Rome and dedicated to a theme within the health care field. This usually takes place in November each year - the 2009 Conference was devoted to the care of those who are deaf. The conferences are multi-disciplinary in their scope - looking at the clinical/medical aspects, ethical and theological aspects, the pastoral aspects and aspects of ecumenical/inter-religious dialogue.
2. The Pontifical Council normally leads in the celebration of the World Day for the Sick.
3. The Pontifical Council publishes a journal, Dolentium Hominum, in French, English and Spanish. The journal publishes the papers from the annual conference, and from other occasional events.